Cool location-based events around the world
This issue focuses on some of the more interesting events worldwide, and it is truly global. They aren't ranked in any particular order. Several are fundraisers for causes. However, they are all location-based festivals, competitions and events. That means that all dates should be considered transitory due to COVID-19, weather, climate change events, strikes, politics, wars, and any other issues that might arise. If you plan to attend one, verify that the event is still on the dates specified before you go.
We'll start down under in Australia with the Brisbane Cockroach Races.
Brisbane Cockroach Races
Location & Event Champion: Story Bridge Hotel Brisbane, QLD, Australia
Date in 2022: March 12
Leave it to the Aussies to make sport of one of the most reviled insects in the world, the cockroach. Each year on Australia Day, Brisbane, Australia, celebrates with the Cockroach Races, cockroach beauty contests, and cockroach fashion shows. All proceeds go to charities. This event first ran in 1982.
Remember that warning in the second paragraph about date changes? In 2022, the Brisbane Cockroach Races were held on March 12 due to COVID-19. Normally this event occurs in January.
Rotary Tiller Races, World Championship
Location & Event Champion: Purple Hull Pea Festival, Emerson, Arkansas
Date in 2022: June 24-25 (est)
Let this be a lesson, people will race anything!
Welcome to the 'Tiller Thriller'. First run in 1990, the World Championship Rotary Tiller Race has become the hallmark event of the PurpleHull Pea Festival in Emerson, Arkansas. All in all, silly as it is, the Tiller Thriller makes for one heck of a fun afternoon. In 2022, the festival and the race were named "Festival of the Year” by the Arkansas Festival Association.
Put it this way, you'll probably never experience anything like this again! As of this writing, the 2022 date of this event has not been confirmed.
Night of the Radishes (Noche de Rabanos)
Location & Event Champion: City of Oaxaca, OAX, Mexico
Date in 2022: December 23
Described as whimsical and fascinating, each year the city of Oaxaca (pronounced Wa-Saw-Kha) in Mexico hosts the Night (or Feast) of the Radishes, Noche de Rabanos.
The tradition began over 100 years ago when the merchants of the town square were looking for ways to draw worshippers exiting Advent services to their stores. Radishes were at peak harvest, so the town's merchants started carving them into little people and animals. The people loved them, purchased them, and added them to their holiday decorations. In 1897, Noche de Rabanos became an official festival on December 23rd each year, the day before Christmas Eve.
Today expert and novice carvers compete for the best-carved radishes. These are not your common small kumquat-size radishes found in the produce section. Oaxaca grows a mega radish that can weigh up to 6.5 pounds (3kg) and be up to 20 inches in length (50 cm). The festival draws people from all over the world and includes a parade, music, food and fireworks. It's one of the most unique Christmas celebrations in the world.
Image: Alejandro Linares Garcia, Creative Commons https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rabanos2014_068.JPG
Location & Event Champion: Buñol, Spain
Date in 2022: August 31
Food Fight! Who doesn't love a food flight? 120 tons of tomatoes are flung and flayed by 35,000 people for two hours each year in Buñol, Spain. This is the La Tomatina Festival. Prepare to be soaked in red and have the time of your life! Tickets are required to attend. Annually on the last Wednesday in August.
The Original Wife Carrying Competition
Location & Event Champion: Sonkajärvi, Finland
Date in 2022: July 1-2
The Wife Carrying World Championship in Finland has been held each year since 1991. The event is organized through volunteers from nearby village associations, entrepreneurs, seniors, and youth living in Sonkajärvi. It is as the name describes: men carrying women on their backs compete in a series of relay endurance tests to determine the World Champion. It is as difficult to do as it is fun to watch.
The Wife Carrying World Championship is the brainchild of Mr. Eero Pitkänen of the Sonkajärvi municipality. Decisions on the event are made via the Sonkajärven Eukonkanto corporation committee consisting of public servants within the Sonkajärvi municipality, deputies from nearby companies, associations, and private persons living in Sonkajärvi.
This is the original event, and the big one. Today Wife Carrying Competitions occur in multiple countries and cities around the world.
Portland Pug Crawl
Location: Downtown Portland, Oregon, USA; Fundraiser for the Oregon Humane Society
Date in 2022: May 22 (est)
Someone got smart and mixed beer, dogs, and dog lovers together for a pub crawl to raise funds for the Oregon Humane Society. A pub crawl for my friends in dry countries is a British/American tradition of moving as a group from bar to bar in a geographic location and having one drink at each during the afternoon or evening. Usually, this involves brew pubs that craft their own beers, allowing the participants to sample each. It's a blast.
Portland's Pug Crawl includes a costumed Parade of Pugs featuring over 100 dogs. The event draws over 1,000 participants from all over the Pacific Northwest and includes pug-related merchandise for pets and people, vendor booths, photo booths, OHS dogs available for adoption, delicious dog treats, and dog water cooling station.
As of this writing, the date has not been set. We're estimating based upon last year's event.
A second fundraiser, Canines Uncorked, is held in August for dog lovers and wine enthusiasts. This event tours Oregon wineries for an afternoon, and all breeds of dogs are involved.
(Idiotarodorama NYC now, due to a lawsuit from The Iditarod)
Date 2022: January 29
Location: New York City, New York, USA
Urban Idiotarods - or Idiot-a-rods - have been going on since 1994 in San Francisco. These urban shopping cart races are named after the Iditarod - the 1,000-mile-long dog-sledding race in Alaska. The storied Iditarod wasn't amused and sued, so in New York City, they are now referred to as Idiotarodorama NYC.
Idiotarods are a funny tradition in which five "idiots" are harassed to a grocery shopping cart/trolley and run through the streets of a city. Sabotage is permitted and encouraged. Frankly, it is a main objective. People trip each other, throw items, and topple obstacles. The event is quite amusing.
Today you can take part in an Idiotarod in Ann Arbor, Asheville, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Denver, Iowa City, New York City, Phoenix, Portland, Salt Lake City, Seattle, St. Louis, Toronto, Los Angeles, Vancouver, BC, and Washington, D.C., with new cities added every year.
The actual date in each city varies and can occur anytime between January and March. Date posted is for the New York City event.
Image by Erin of Oregon City from the 2008 Idiotarod in Portland, Oregon via Flickr https://www.flickr.com/people/49096113@N00
National Skijoring Finals
Location: Red Lodge, Montana, USA, Red Lodge Skijoring Association
Date 2022: March 12 - 13
Ski-Joring, (Skijoring) is rapidly gaining an international following. It is a sport in which skiers are pulled by horses, reindeer, dogs, or any other animal that can get some speed.
This Scandinavian winter amusement, born of a slightly intoxicated group of friends, found its way to America, Montana, to be specific, and it has been here since 1980. Saddle up your four-wheeler and head to the Red Lodge rodeo grounds the second weekend of March and see just how well equines meld with plankers. Giggles guaranteed!
Camel Beauty Contest
Location: Remah - Al Rumahiyah (Riyadh), Saudi Arabia; The Camel Club
Date 2022: December - January 2023
Created in 2015, The King Abdulaziz Camel Festival outside of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, is a forty-day event of camel races, pageants, and various entertainment and cultural events. This includes the annual Camel Beauty Contest, which pays the winners over $66 million. It's big money and highly competitive.
Camel raising is a bedouin essential going back over 3000 years. They are used for transportation, milk, meat, and labor. Prior to the oil era, raising camels was considered the most prestigious of tribal activities.
With climate change, camels are increasingly replacing cattle in the Middle East and Africa. Their diet is less constrained. They need less water and provide the same benefits to ranchers.
As of this writing, the date has not been set. However, the festival begins in December and runs for forty days until it ends in January.
Location: Samnaun, Switzerland
Date 2022: November 25-26 (est)
ClauWau is the Santa Claus World Championships, or Santa Games, in Samnaun, Switzerland. This amusing event, held every year since 2001, features teams dressed as Santa Claus competing in various events. After the Santa Games, a concert. What better way to kick off the holiday season?
Date for 2022 is estimated.
Running of the Nudes
Location: Pamplona, Spain; PETA
Date 2022: July 5
This protest event took a year off due to COVID but is expected to resume again in 2022, pandemic permitting.
When it first ran in 2002, 25 people streaked through the city of Pamplona, Spain, to protest the upcoming Running of the Bulls, a tradition in Spain since the 1800s.
Today, this event can draw thousands of people, all of whom shed their clothes and run through the streets as a means to protest what they define as animal cruelty in the form of bullfighting and the annual three-minute herding of bulls to the Plaza del Toros. If this event goes ahead this year, it occurs two days before the San Fermin Festival in Pamplona, which commences with the Running of the Bulls.
I wanted to highlight two events that are no longer taking place are the International Cherry Pit Spitting Contest in Michigan and Thailand's Running of the Brides. Regrettably, Tree-Mendus Fruit Farm in Eau Claire, Michigan, is closed permanently since January 2022. Therefore, the decades-old Cherry Pit Spitting Contest appears to have ended with its founder's death in 2021.
Thailand's Running of the Brides appears to be on hold as well. It was an event where women dressed in bridal dresses ran a race. The winner won a honeymoon.
The next issue will focus on Motherhood, with Mother's Day coming up in the US and Canada in May. England and the Middle East celebrated their Mother's Day in March.
Thank you all for the many private messages I received after my last issue celebrating my father and his art. It was greatly appreciated! Until the next issue...